Distributed data processing for public health surveillance

Lazarus, Ross; Yih, Katherine; Platt, Richard
January 2006
BMC Public Health;2006, Vol. 6, p235
Academic Journal
Background: Many systems for routine public health surveillance rely on centralized collection of potentially identifiable, individual, identifiable personal health information (PHI) records. Although individual, identifiable patient records are essential for conditions for which there is mandated reporting, such as tuberculosis or sexually transmitted diseases, they are not routinely required for effective syndromic surveillance. Public concern about the routine collection of large quantities of PHI to support non-traditional public health functions may make alternative surveillance methods that do not rely on centralized identifiable PHI databases increasingly desirable. Methods: The National Bioterrorism Syndromic Surveillance Demonstration Program (NDP) is an example of one alternative model. All PHI in this system is initially processed within the secured infrastructure of the health care provider that collects and holds the data, using uniform software distributed and supported by the NDP. Only highly aggregated count data is transferred to the datacenter for statistical processing and display. Results: Detailed, patient level information is readily available to the health care provider to elucidate signals observed in the aggregated data, or for ad hoc queries. We briefly describe the benefits and disadvantages associated with this distributed processing model for routine automated syndromic surveillance. Conclusion: For well-defined surveillance requirements, the model can be successfully deployed with very low risk of inadvertent disclosure of PHI - a feature that may make participation in surveillance systems more feasible for organizations and more appealing to the individuals whose PHI they hold. It is possible to design and implement distributed systems to support non-routine public health needs if required.


Related Articles

  • Evaluating Real-Time Syndromic Surveillance Signals from Ambulatory Care Data in Four States. Yih, W. Katherine; Despande, Swati; Fuller, Candace; Heisey-Grove, Dawn; Hsu, John; Kruskal, Benjamin A.; Kulldorff, Martin; Leach, Michael; Nordin, James; Patton-Levine, Jessie; Puga, Ella; Sherwood, Edward; Shui, Irene; Platt, Richard // Public Health Reports;Jan/Feb2010, Vol. 125 Issue 1, p111 

    Objectives. We evaluated a real-time ambulatory care-based syndromic surveillance system in four metropolitan areas of the United States. Methods. Health-care organizations and health departments in California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Texas participated during 2007-2008. Syndromes were...

  • A Model for Expanded Public Health Reporting in the Context of HIPAA. SENGUPTA, SOUMITRA; CALMAN, NEIL S.; HRIPCSAK, GEORGE // Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association;Sep/Oct2008, Vol. 15 Issue 5, p569 

    The advent of electronic medical records and health information exchange raise the possibility of expanding public health reporting to detect a broad range of clinical conditions and of monitoring the health of the public on a broad scale. Expanding public health reporting may require patient...

  • Selected websites.  // Formulary;Aug2006, Vol. 41 Issue 8, p412 

    The article provides information related to the selected websites of Medical care in the U.S. American academy of sleep medicine have their websites at www.aasmnet.org. The anxiety disorders association of America have got their websites of www.adaa.org. National heart, lung, and blood...

  • Time for an agreed list of healthcare abbreviations.  // Nursing Standard;7/27/2005, Vol. 19 Issue 46, p18 

    Presents list of healthcare abbreviations in Great Britain. Use of the abbreviations in the healthcare setting; Citation of Data Protection Act which led to professional awareness of health workers using derogatory abbreviations in patient records; Advisory from the Nursing Midwifery Council on...

  • Medical Data and Injuries. Baker, Susan P. // American Journal of Public Health;Jul1983, Vol. 73 Issue 7, p733 

    The author reflects on the problem with police data on injuries. He notes that the said data are collected chiefly to show who was the culprit and documenting the basis for filing a criminal case. He laments that the problem with police data on injuries is that it focuses on behavioral aspects...

  • Health Information Networks.  // Health Management Technology;Feb2005, Vol. 26 Issue 2, p10 

    Reports on the launch of health information networks in Massachusetts and Delaware. Goals of the Massachusetts eHealth Collaborative; Amount of federal funding for the Delaware Health Information Network.

  • Percentage of Health-Care Providers Using Electronic Medical Records, by Health-Care Setting -- United States, 2001-2003.  // MMWR: Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report;5/13/2005, Vol. 54 Issue 18, p463 

    Presents a graph showing the percentage of health care providers using electronic medical records, by health care setting, in the U.S. from 2001 to 2003.

  • On the Road to RHIOs. Halamka, John // Health Management Technology;Jun2006, Vol. 27 Issue 6, p8 

    The article focuses on the clinical data exchange experiences at CareGroup Healthcare System. Their journey to clinical data sharing began with results viewing electronic health record rollouts and enhanced inpatient automation throughout their delivery network. It then evolved to include...

  • Evaluation of Active versus Passive AIDS Surveillance in Oregon. Modesitt, Steven K.; Hulman, Sharon; Fleming, David // American Journal of Public Health;Apr90, Vol. 80 Issue 4, p463 

    Abstract: We searched for unreported AIDS cases in Oregon through death certificate and medical record review, and enhanced infection control practitioner and physician surveillance. Fifty-six AIDS cases diagnosed between February 1, 1986 and January 31, 1987 were reported passively. Twenty-nine...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics